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In celebration of my birthday on February 5, 2023, I am running a campaign to raise money to support my work here at Behind The Black. I do not run ads. My only support comes from my readers, which leaves me utterly free to speak my mind openly about space, culture, and politics. Please consider supporting me in this work by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


2. Donate through Gabpay, using my email address zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

3. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

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Virgin Orbit’s first launch from UK delayed by red tape

We’re here to help you: The first launch of a satellite from the United Kingdom, launched by Virgin Orbit by taking off from a runway in Cornwall, is experiencing prolonged delays getting its license approved by the British bureaucracy.

While the company says there are no specific issues holding up approval, the permit remains unapproved. Virgin Orbit had hoped initially to launch in the summer, but could not, and this delay has also delayed its later launches and thus reduced its profits in 2022, forcing it to obtain extra investment capital from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group in order to pay the bills.

Meanwhile, the British bureaucracy struggles to issue the licenses.

The delays have attracted the attention of a House of Commons committee, which released a report Nov. 4 criticizing those delays and calling for more personnel to be assigned to reviewing license applications. “For this initial set of licence applications, the Department for Transport must provide additional resource to the CAA [Civil Aviation Authority] to ensure that the licensing process does not impede the feasibility of a launch this year,” the report stated.

A source familiar with the CAA’s licensing activities, speaking on background, noted that the CAA now had about 50 people working on license applications, up from the 35 mentioned in the report. That included one person seconded to the CAA from the U.S. Federation Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation.

As always, private enterprise gets it done, while government requires dozens of people and months to simply fill out forms. Worse, we all know the CAA is going to say yes. The delay is simply a game to justify its existence, not to really accomplish anything.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

One comment

  • John hare

    One of the things I may never understand is why it should take one person more than a week to process a permit.

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